Somehow it has been six months since my last blog post, and an update is well overdue. Writing in mid-May, COVID felt like something that would be "over and done with" within a matter of months, especially in Australia where cases where diminishing fast. As the year went on, our hopes that COVID would just be a minor blip slowly turned into acceptance that we would not be able to complete the trip as originally planned.
We knew our trip would have many unexpected twists and turns, but having to put the trip on hold for a global pandemic was certainly not something we imagined happening. In our last blog we had just arrived into Singapore, completing the first leg of our journey. Five months later, we have still not been able to properly start leg two. Here's a little update of what we've been doing between then and now.
On the 20th January 2020, we completed the first leg of our trip: driving from the UK to Singapore. To celebrate, we thought we would publish a slightly different blog post, reflecting back over our 306 days on the road.
We had done it. We had driven our 18 year old Land Rover Discovery II 18,165 miles across 20 countries from England to Singapore. A lifetime of planning, two years of saving money, ten months of driving, and here we finally were.
Our next stop in Malaysia was the Cameron Highlands. Driving up into the Highlands, the temperature and humidity dropped - a large factor as to why this is such a popular destination for Malaysians and foreign tourists alike.
The next morning, we drove to Butterworth train station to collect my (Charlie's) parents, Moirag and Mike. They had flown into Kuala Lumpar the previous day to spend the next 11 days with us in Malaysia and Singapore.
It is in times of crisis that one learns where each other's priorities lie: would you sacrifice yourself to save a loved one? Much to Chris' dismay, we both learned that when it came to my priorities, my own safety, and the safety of my food ranked significantly higher than the safety of Chris.
We left Plodd Stop on the 26th December, and for the next few days followed the coast south, beach hopping from one wild camping spot to another. This was the style of overlanding we had been dreaming of since we left the UK all those months ago. We pitched up a few hundred metres from luxury beach-side hotel resorts, spending our afternoons reading, swimming, sunbathing and walking.
Our weekend was spent at the Erawan National Park at the 15th annual Land Rover Lovers weekend. Natalie thought she had died and gone to heaven (I think Chris did too). For three days we were completely surrounded by Land Rovers and their owners. In a very short time we met so many lovely people. We were made to feel extremely welcome. Yet another brilliant experience to add to our ever growing list of highlights from our trip.